« Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Activist | Main | I Want »

Technology and Law Reviews

Over at The Conglomerate a discussion is raging on the ethics of "expedited review." Since Prof. Smith has already explained it so well, I'll just quote him:

Here's how it works: the author submits her paper to tens of journals (say, 40-100) and awaits offers. When the first offer arrives, often from a journal ranked in the lowest quartile, the author contacts all or some of the journals ranked above the offering journal to request expedited review. The author explains that she has an offer outstanding from the ________ Law Review, but would be pleased to ditch them in favor of higher-ranked journal. The only catch is that the higher-ranked journal needs to respond before the offer explodes. In some instances, this might be a couple of weeks, but in other instances it may be as short as 24 hours.

Heidi (infinitely more qualified to talk about this, since I'm increasingly less thrilled with the entire "law review" method of legal scholarship) hasn't weighed in on this yet, but in my opinion the "expedite" process seems to be one more extension of the legal tendency towards heirarchy, another status game. On the one hand, authors have an incentive to move their offers up the ladder through the use of expedite requests; on the other hand, journals have an incentive to use "exploding offers" to discourage it. There's an amusing Reg State question here, but the whole thing seems to create a lot of extra work for everybody.

I've recently been looking at the peer-reviewed production process used by the rest of academia. Mostly I've been reviewing it because A. N. Other Law Review asked me to look into ways of allowing them to accept online submissions, and I came across the Open Journal Systems project of The University of British Columbia. It's a cool piece of kit: it will generate your entire journal online, handle the workflow process for peer-review, and send email notifications to everyone involved. Setup time was a bit over an hour for me, but would be about 15 minutes if you weren't trying to kick the tires too hard, and the software is wonderfully free.

What it won't do is cater for the idiosyncracies of the law review process: there's no feature to easily handle expedites, you'd have to set your staff members up as "reviewers," and many law reviews would have to shift their work processes a bit to use the software comfortably. (Then again, given what it allows and the low price, it may be worth looking into.) And the more that I look at how peer-reviewed journals handle these things, the more I wonder about the inefficiencies inherent in the standard law review editing process.

Of course, the software's open-source, so it wouldn't be difficult for a dedicated law review to tweak it out of its peer-reviewed simplicity. Better yet, the next version is planned to support multiple journals under one implementation: in other words, all of a law school's AnyLawSchool Journal of Law and Something Else could accept online submissions and publish online, assuming they were willing to work together and collectively pay for the hosting costs. (Actually, the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications has already modded a prior version of OSJ to not only run multiple journals, but allow subscription by credit card. I couldn't get its version to install properly within the hour I was willing to spend testing, but the problem is obvious and would take no time to solve.)

I have a sandbox version of the software up and running: if you're the sysadmin of a law review and would like to have a look, just email me and I'll give you a password, so long as my bandwidth holds up.

Right. Didn't I have some reading to do at some point?

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.threeyearsofhell.com/cgi-user/mt/mtPleaseLinktoMe.cgi/1091

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Technology and Law Reviews:

» Exploding Offers from De Novo
A. Rickey moves from a Conglomerate discussion of expedited review of journal submissions to a promotion of software. I've dealt with some expedited reviews; they mean that instead of the usual week or more allotted to read and comment on... [Read More]

Post a comment

NOTICE TO SPAMMERS, COMMENT ROBOTS, TRACKBACK SPAMMERS AND OTHER NON-HUMAN VISITORS: No comment or trackback left via a robot is ever welcome at Three Years of Hell. Your interference imposes significant costs upon me and my legitimate users. The owner, user or affiliate who advertises using non-human visitors and leaves a comment or trackback on this site therefore agrees to the following: (a) they will pay fifty cents (US$0.50) to Anthony Rickey (hereinafter, the "Host") for every spam trackback or comment processed through any blogs hosted on threeyearsofhell.com, morgrave.com or housevirgo.com, irrespective of whether that comment or trackback is actually posted on the publicly-accessible site, such fees to cover Host's costs of hosting and bandwidth, time in tending to your comment or trackback and costs of enforcement; (b) if such comment or trackback is published on the publicly-accessible site, an additional fee of one dollar (US$1.00) per day per URL included in the comment or trackback for every day the comment or trackback remains publicly available, such fee to represent the value of publicity and search-engine placement advantages.

Giving The Devil His Due

Choose Stylesheet

What I'm Reading

cover
D.C. Noir

My city. But darker.
cover
A Clockwork Orange

About time I read this...


Shopping

Projects I've Been Involved With

A Round-the-World Travel Blog: Devil May Care (A new round-the-world travel blog, co-written with my wife)
Parents for Inclusive Education (From my Clinic)

Syndicated from other sites

The Columbia Continuum
Other Blogs by CLS students

De Novo
Theory and Practice
Liberal Federalism?
Good News, No Foolin'


Althouse
Nancy Pelosi covers her head and visits the head of John the Baptist.
Vlogging in from Austin.
Omikase/"American Idol"


Jeremy Blachman's Weblog: 2007
Happy Passover
Looking for Advice re: LA
Google Books


Stay of Execution
What I've Learned From This Blog, or My Yellow Underpants
The End
Mid Thirties


Legal Theory Blog
Program Announcement: Summer Programs on the Constitution at George Washington
Book Announement: Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy by Whittington
Entry Level Hiring Report


The Volokh Conspiracy
Making the Daily Show:
Civil unions pass New Hampshire House:
Profile of Yale Law Dean Harold Koh:


Crescat Sententia
Hillary II
Hillary
Politics and Principal/Agents


Law Dork
Election Approaches
Following Lewis
New Jersey High Court: 'Same Rights and Benefits'


IrishLaw
Homecoming
Surveying the revival
Birds of paradise


Half the Sins of Mankind
Cheney Has Spoken Religious conservatives who may ...
Does Ahmadinejad Know Christianity Better Than MSN...
Borders as Genocide In discussions of climate chan...


pf.org
Progress
For lovers of garden gnomes...and any China-freaks out there
We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming


Ideoblog
Does SOX explain the flight from NY?
More Litvak on SOX effect on cross-listed firms
What did the market learn from internal controls reporting?


The Yin Blog
Iowa City = Riyadh
Jeffrey Rosen's "The Supreme Court"
Geek alert -- who would win between Battlestar Galactica and the U.S.S. Enterprise?


Letters of Marque
Graduation
And there we are
Oil!


BuffaloWings&Vodka
Signing Off


Dark Bilious Vapors
Jim (The Waco Kid): Where you headed, cowboy?
Bart: Nowhere special.
Jim: Nowhere special. I always wanted to go there.
Bart: Come on.
--"Blazing Saddles"

Technical Difficulties... please stand by....
The Onion should have gotten a patent first....


Legal Ethics Forum
Interesting new Expert DQ case
Decency, Due Care, and The Yoo-Delahunty Memorandum
Thinking About the Fired U.S. Attorneys


Ex Post
Student Symposium- Chicago!
More Hmong - Now at Law School
Good Samaritan Laws: Good For America?


Appellate Law & Practice
Those turned over documents
CA1: courts can’t help people acquitted of crimes purge the taint of acquitted conduct
CA1: restrictions on chain liquor stores in Rhode Island are STILL okay


the imbroglio
High schoolers turn in plagiarism screeners for copyright infringement
talisman
Paris to offer 20,600 bikes at 1,450 stations to rent by the end of the year


The Republic of T.
The Secret of the Snack Attack
links for 2007-04-04
Where You Link is What You Get

Distractions for stressed law students

The Other Side: Twisted AnimationsSomething Positive, a truly good webcomic

Syndicate This Site

Sitemeter

Technologies


Stop Spam Harvesters, Join Project Honey Pot